Role of Academic Senates in Enrollment Management

Local Senates
Educational Policies Committee

This position paper of the Academic Senate provides the background and scope of enrollment management as it is defined and practiced by educational institutions. Emerging themes in higher education, and enrollment trends in California, are used to frame enrollment management considerations. A variety of strategies for managing over- and under-enrollment are presented. The paper concludes with the role of the academic senate in developing and evaluating enrollment management plans. A glossary of enrollment management key terms is included at the end.


The criteria for the development and implementation of an enrollment management process should be at the local level, determined by the unique needs and characteristics of a college campus and its surrounding community. They should:

  • Ensure that student access and success are of first priority.
  • Utilize qualitative data-faculty's commitment to a comprehensive and balanced curriculum must be acknowledged. Innovative courses are created when faculty recognize the need to address their subject in a new way and when they are supported in their efforts to improve their programs.
  • Student experiences and outcomes are also important factors to consider.
  • Be dedicated to ensuring the best educational experiences possible within the context of available resources.
  • Relate to the college's mission and goals.
  • Be based upon uniform measures.
  • Be based upon consistent principles and policies applied across the curriculum.
  • Be based upon trends over time, typically three to five years.
  • Utilize quantitative data-in making enrollment management decisions, the following quantitative factors need to be considered: consistently weak or high enrollments, course retention rates that are typically below expectations, term-to-term persistence rates for student achievement, over-enrollment and long waiting lists, limited scheduling options, averaging student enrollment by sections offered, and the variety of ways to provide instruction (on-line, telecourse, accelerated, weekend, semester length), the match or fit between pedagogical design and delivery modes and student profiles and learning styles.